David Rockefeller Coming to Anaheim : Real estate: Despite a soft market in Orange County, he and his partners plan a $100-million complex.


A partnership led by David Rockefeller said Thursday that it will build its first project in Southern California, a $100-million complex across the street from Anaheim Stadium that will include two 13-story office buildings and a 150-room hotel.

Surrounded by a stone wall and several rings of trees, the 12-acre Central Park Towers is intended to look like a scaled-down version of New York City’s Central Park. It is more lavishly landscaped than most of the office buildings in the Anaheim area.

Instead of the usual tinted glass sported by most Orange County office buildings, Rockefeller & Associates Realty’s office towers will probably have an exterior of precast concrete designed to look like marble.

The Rockefeller partnership is a development and investment company based in San Francisco. Its predecessor developed that city’s big Embarcadero Center office and hotel complex. David Rockefeller, one of the wealthy family’s more prominent members, is the chairman and major owner. The other investors are mostly his New York business associates.


The new project is proposed at a time when top banking regulators have warned lenders to be wary of overbuilt real estate markets, including Orange County. The office vacancy rate in Orange County exceeds 20%.

But the Rockefeller partnership is betting it can exploit a lull in construction around the stadium and open the complex when that office market tightens up several years from now.

The firm said it picked Anaheim--a less prestigious business address than Irvine or Newport Beach--because the office market in those cities isn’t expected to improve as quickly as Anaheim’s.

The partnership said it plans to start construction of the 578,000-square-foot office development next spring and finish in 1993. The project has yet to be approved by the city, but Rockefeller Associates says it doesn’t anticipate any major problems.

Whether both office towers will be built at the same time depends on how many tenants can be signed up before construction, said Timothy B. Good, an Irvine developer and a partner in the project.

Good said the partners are negotiating with four hotel companies to run the small hotel. A deal is near, he said. Originally planned for 350 rooms, the hotel was scaled down after Good found that big hotel companies had already saturated the Anaheim market and weren’t interested in running another big full-service hotel. So the hotel will be an all-suites, extended-stay facility.

Central Park Towers also includes a big restaurant, several smaller eateries and shops. The stadium area, once an industrial neighborhood, doesn’t have many shops or restaurants. So the office developers usually provide their own.

After quietly deciding to do the Anaheim project last fall, Rockefeller & Associates made a second Southern California investment when they bought a business park in La Jolla this spring.

(Rockefeller & Associates is not part of the family’s Rockefeller Group, which owns New York’s Rockefeller Center and which made news last year when it sold 51% of itself and the Manhattan landmark to Mitsubishi Estate Co. of Japan.)

In Anaheim, at least three major developers already have city permission to build new office towers around the stadium, home of baseball’s Angels and football’s Rams.

But at least some of those buildings probably won’t be constructed, Good said, because finding money to build has become much harder recently.

L. William Seidman, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., recently cited the Anaheim market, which includes most of Orange County, as one that bank regulators had tagged as overbuilt. But local and state officials said the warning overlooked the area’s strong population growth and absorption rate, which is the rate at which new space is leased.